Thursday, April 19, 2012

@Sweden’s citizen driven nation branding is a global success

Five months ago Sweden went viral on the social web through its initiative Curators of Sweden. A new swede takes over the country’s official Twitter account @sweden every week to share anything Swedish. 9 000 tweets and 31 400 mentions later in over 120 countries the initiative is regarded a global success and an innovative way to brand a nation.

The notion behind this initiative is that one voice can’t represent Sweden or the Swedes themselves. It has been quoted to be “either insane or genius”, “like visiting a swede’s mind” and “Great example of building a country’s brand” and more. People on Twitter from all over the world have welcomed each new curator with warmth, genuine curiosity, respect and love.

- We're thrilled with the attention Curators of Sweden has gotten so far. The initiative is a part of a long term communications strategy, focusing on engaging with the target group to raise awareness and curiosity about Sweden, says Maria Ziv, Director of Marketing at VisitSweden.

-  In the beginning, the very openness of the strategy was what caught most people’s attention. But since then, the content and discussion of the tweets have led to a very active dialogue between the Swedish twitters and the world. It is this dialogue that we want to continue and develop, says Annika Rembe, Director-General at the Swedish Institute.

Swedish citizens are the voice of Sweden

Since December 10th 2011, the first 19 curators have started laying a puzzle showing a multi-facetted and genuine image of Sweden. One piece at a time - curator by curator, tweet by tweet.

- Sweden’s rich and diverse culture is now being shared by people all over the world. Curators of Sweden create a context and a setting where people have the possibility for real conversations in an uncensored, but official, channel, says Maria Ziv, Director of Marketing at VisitSweden.

- By embracing transparency and empowering people we’ve opened up for crowd sourced nation branding, says Tommy Sollén, Social Media Manager at VisitSweden.

Topics that have created a lot of discussion range from various religious beliefs, or the lack thereof, to free and healthy food in Swedish schools. The dialog between the curators and the followers of @sweden has in many ways given insights into Swedish culture. For example, it has illustrated an open society where everyone is free to be themselves whether you’re openly gay or decide to breastfeed in public.

Facts: 19st curators. 11 men, 8 women. 21 – 60+ years of age.
Curators location: Ljungsbro, New York, Stockholm, Umeå, Uppsala, Linköping, Helsingborg, Göteborg, Örebro

Curator’s professions: Journalist, Advertiser, Farmer, Student, Minister, Truck Driver, Teacher, Administrative secretary, Librarian, Entrepreneur, Lawyer, Fire Fighter, Unemployed, Writer and Political Scientist.

Twitter statistics:
Klout Score: 66 (Influential topics: Sweden, Travel & Tourism, Europe)
Tweets: 9 000+
ReTweets: 7 800+
Mentions: 31 400+
Followers: 28 000+

The concept of curating destinations on Twitter is spreading. Here are some of the accounts we’ve found since the start of Curators of Sweden: @TweetweekUSA, @WeAreAustralia, @PeopleofLeeds, @CuratorsMexico, @Basquesabroad and  @MunichLovesU. However, to our knowledge these accounts are run by citizens by their own initiatives and not by any official organizations.

Background: Sweden has been on Twitter as @sweden since January 2009 and had gained 8 189 followers before the Curators of Sweden initiative started. VisitSweden has been updating the account during 2009 and 2010 with Sweden related content with a tourism perspective. The Swedish institute has shared in this responsibility during 2011 by contributing to a broader Sweden image.

Creative agency: Volontaire.

Information about Curators of Sweden, who is writing, what they are writing, who’s coming up next etc can be found on

For more information about VisitSweden and Svenska institutet


Johannes Karlsson, Head of PR and Social Media
Phone: +46702-335033      
Skype: johannes.karlsson.sthlm             

VisitSweden is a communications company that works to promote the brand of Sweden and the Swedish destinations and experiences internationally.       

Svenska institutet

Frida Roberts, project manager
Tel: Phone: +468-453 7879
Twitter: @SInyheter

The Swedish Institute (SI) is a public agency that promotes interest and confidence in Sweden around the world. SI seeks to establish cooperation and lasting relations with other countries through strategic communication and exchange in the fields of culture, education, science and business.

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Steve Robertshaw
PR Manager
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